When I began writing novels, I knew the value of recognition in the form of awards, prizes and third party endorsements; I’d owned and run a small business for over fifteen years and been very involved in the PR side of things.
Recognition – the public acknowledgement of your ability, achievement, merits or services – is something most humans crave, whether admitted or not. Perhaps it’s an (un)acknowledged motivator for writing and publishing a book. Of course, writing can be for other reasons, but little beats the tingle of seeing your name on the front of a work you’ve created. (Except an award!)
Recognition takes many forms, such as a mention in the mass media, praise from your peers, congratulations from your family and friends, invitations to speak, and importantly, reaction from the consumers of your work, the readers.
When your book first comes out, you can feel self-conscious. What right have I to thrust my scribblings onto the world? But as the plaudits come in, you realise that you may have strung some words together in a more than acceptable manner. You start to enjoy the sensation you have given pleasure to a lot of people. Once found, readers love your books. Your reputation is growing. But how do you find wider recognition?
Endorsements, prizes and reviews are three ways, and I love them! SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as the Historical Novel Society’s indie Editor’s Choices (second logo from left in the image above) and so longlisted for the HNS indie Novel Award in the year they were published. AURELIA made it to the last four (centre logo)!
On Amazon UK INCEPTIO has over 80 reviews, the others mostly over 20 and all with high average stars, even 4.9 for AURELIA. And SUCCESSIO was picked as an Editor’s Choice in the first indie review in no less than The Bookseller!
But today I’m looking at the awards that have been given to the Roma Nova books. Indie books generally don’t attract the ‘big’ prizes given by a prestigious panel of judges, but there are many valuable awards specifically for indies that are given by that even more critical group — the readers.
Not all awards are equal. It’s worth looking at the conditions and eligibility rules as well as the range of books that have won the awards. Taking my courage in my hands, I submitted the Roma Nova books to the independent quality mark organisation indieBRAG. It has a fearsome bar – a 90% rejection rate – which, of course, enhances the value of its award. ‘BRAG’ stands for Book Reader Appreciation Group and the group examining each book consists of ten experienced readers; all ten have to like your book!
The latest, awarded this week to AURELIA, is called ‘Chill with a Book’ Reader Award and was set up by the indefatigable Pauline Barclay. Once again, the books are judged by readers.
Readers are the ones who shell out their (taxed) money to support authors. In return, we give them hours of entertainment, an emotional journey, we open new vistas and sometimes cause them to think differently.
Given the huge choice of books available today, quality awards based on pleasing readers give the wider reading public an assured guide into the world of new independent fiction.
Update (1 March):
Against stiff competition, INSURRECTIO has been selected as Book of the Month by the ‘Chill With a Book’ reader award.
Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO. The sixth, RETALIO, will be published in Spring 2017. Audiobooks now available for the first four of the series
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